The part that I enjoyed the most was the panel on the fourth day that was focused on the topic of "Alternative future scenarios for the marine place experiencing changing ocean conditions" where we heard different perspectives ranging from fisheries oceanography, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), psychology, sociology, and public policy.
We had the privilege of having Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield on the panel who specializes in Indigenous TEK, tribal adaptations due to climate change, and Native culture issues. She spoke about her pathway into science and the many obstacles she faced along the way. But as she continued to tell her story, she didn't let anyone or thing deter her and kept on moving forward on her academic journey because she knew her ancestors were always with her and that this was something she was very passionate about. Hearing her speak brought tears to my eyes. Not because her story was sad, but because it was the inspiration I needed at the moment. I had just come back to Oregon after being home for 2 months, and it felt like I was moving all over again. But hearing her speak made me remember why I am here in Oregon and going to school.
I do this so that I can get a degree and advance my field with the research I conduct because I enjoy what I do, BUT I also continue to move forward to show other islanders/underrepresented/disadvantaged students that you can freaking do anything you put your mind too, to make my loved ones back home proud, to bring all that I have learned back to my island home, and so many more reasons. I definitely had a lot to learn about myself after that week and it was a really nice start to a new academic year.
Click here to learn more about the OSU NRT program!
Click here to read a blog written by Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield!
Mahalo and Fa'afetai tele lava! \mn/